COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — A growing number of Colorado educators have taken on the responsibility of arming themselves against a potential school shooter. More than 250 teachers and school staff members have completed the Faculty Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response (FASTER) program since its inception in 2017. The trainees represent 37 different school districts around the state.
"The training is very intense," explained Laura Carno, Executive Director of FASTER Colorado. "All of our instructors are active duty law enforcement. They're teaching these school staffers the same thing that they teach law enforcement in the academy on how to stop an active killer."
Participants must already have a concealed weapons permit. The training lasts three days.
"This is a matter of seconds and minutes until children could lose their lives and nobody wants that to happen," Carno said.
Demand to enroll in the program typically jumps in the days and weeks after a mass shooting. However, Carno said the demand since the mass school shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas is 10 times greater than anything she's experienced before.
"I think because of the horrific details that happened in Uvalde with law enforcement not going in, I think more and more parents and, frankly, folks in schools are saying we are our own first responders," she said.
Colorado law allows school district boards of education and charter boards to authorize armed staff on campus. Carno said many of the people who have contacted her recently are parents interested in making the training available at their children's schools.
"Every time a school district authorizes this policy we hear from superintendents that they had more volunteers than they thought," Carno said. "They didn't know all of the people that were concealed carry holders outside of the school."
She recommends parents contact their school boards and attend board of education meetings to start a discussion about school security and to express their desire for FASTER training to be considered as an option.
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